Welcome back to the second of my RPGsources blogs. These articles take a look at the resources I use to help run games of D&D. Normally they’ll be things that are free to access, and not always related to RPGs in the first instance. This week however, we’re going to take a look at some Expanded Tables, that are directly inspired from those that already exist in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
What self-respecting D&D player doesn’t love rolling and rolling and rolling on dozens of random generator tables? The official WotC books are full of them! The Player’s Handbook has several to help you flesh out your character personality traits, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has enough to help you build your entire backstory, and Volo’s Guide to Monsters has enough to fully populate the lair of a hag, determine her name, personality and quirks, and already you’re kitted up for an adventure. That’s not even mentioning the panoply of tables in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. These tables are perfect for any DM who needs a source of inspiration. They include random encounter tables, magic item tables, dungeon filling tables, weather condition tables, side quest tables, and tables to help you create NPCs. Some of my favourite tables though are those found on pages 128 and 272. Carousing and Lingering Injuries (many know the two go hand in hand).
I think it’s fair to say that my players are obsessed with both of these tables. Sure they have tens of thousands of gold coins with which they could buy a tavern, build a stronghold, search for magic items or research their enemies, but that’s no fun is it? Almost without fail, the characters at my table carouse in their spare time. Google dictionary defines ‘Carousing’ as ‘drinking alcohol and enjoying oneself with others in a noisy, lively way.’, and I think that hits the nail on the head. That is EXACTLY what my players want their characters to do. Because of this, we burned through the table on page 128 pretty quickly. Sure I was able to improvise some new ones for them, or build stories off the results, but 9 times out of 10, the players wanted me to be as surprised as they were, and just enjoyed hearing the result, rather than having it affect the story too much. Because of this, I turned to THE INTERNET and pretty quickly found this table, which has kept my players in good spirits ever since.
This d100 table really presents a wealth of carousing outcomes, and even when I had 7 players, we only ever had one or two repeat results, which I could easily tinker slightly to make a big chance. a huge shout-out to u/pbghin from r/DnD for compiling this, it’s made running downtime at my table a breeze.
The second expanded table I use very frequently is one that you might think players would hate, but in my experience, they love. On page 272 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide is the table for Lingering Injuries. These effects help emphasise the dangers of combat in a fantasy world, beyond just the loss of hit points. Often, a critical hit against a character can fall flat if the dice are not in your favour, as can a roll of a 1 on a death save when the cleric is already getting out their healer’s kit. This table presents option for injuries that occur when a creature:
- Takes a critical hit
- Drops to 0 hit points but isn’t killed outright
- Fails a death saving throw by 5 or more
At my table, I tend only to use the latter of these three occasions, just to keep combat streamlined, but my players are always eager to point out when one of their friends has rolled a 3 on their death save and I’ve forgotten to inflict them with a brutal injury.
Just like the previous example, this table is great but short, and although you can add different descriptions to the injuries depending on the weapon or monster that caused it, I was eager to find an expanded table to help ease the workload at the table. Enter James Introcasso; possibly the most prolific D&D 5e content producer in the world right now. James has done amazing work on his blog, and this is one of my favourite examples of that (also, a Cranberries reference is never wasted on me).
James’ new table takes the edge of Lingering Injuries just slightly, providing more less-dangerous option like loosing your teeth or puncturing a lung, rather than having a 10% chance of losing a limb. This means that you can run injuries without having to worry so much about your characters having access to the regenerate spell.
I’m sure there are dozens more expanded tables out there on the internet for people to use, but these two examples are ones which have really improved my gaming experience. If you can think of any more let me know in the comments!